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Teenagers: Health and Wellness

Updated on January 12, 2016
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Health and Wellness

When I graduated as a school teacher many years ago I chose to work with teenagers because I felt they needed all the help they could get and to say that they are misunderstood is a massive understatement!

I have had some of the happiest days of my life working with teenagers because they are fun to be with - but they need very careful handling.

One thing that is quite often overlooked is that parents and their teens are given a second chance - a fresh start. Childhood is over and now a new phase begins. The aim is to build a great relationship together full of mutual respect, love, and understanding.

Making sure that your teens are getting everything they need can be very difficult indeed. They need a special healthy diet, ( and they won't want to eat it!) exercise, and a lot of sleep. All these have to be monitored. Then there's their social activities, these need careful management too. It's just like all parenting, a huge learning curve, with lot's of opportunities for mistakes!

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This video is very helpful and talks about food and nutrition for teenagers' health and wellness.

Mood Swings : could this be a sugar level issue?

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Tips and Advice

  • It is very important to be honest and open with your teen and to be supportive. They do not need criticism from you but guidance. They need parenting not friendship. You are there for them just in the same way as you were there when they were learning to walk or ride their first bike.

  • Educate your teen. Explain things like trick photography and photo-shopping that the media uses to produce unhealthy skinny images of people. Teach them what healthy actually means. Do not trust these things to the school.
  • Most importantly be their positive role model. They will look up to you and copy you no matter what you do.
  • Do not buy fast food - cook from fresh and include them in the kitchen whenever possible. They will learn about nutrition if they are involved with preparing and cooking food.
  • Try to get your teen active in sports and develop a love for walking, swimming, or cycling. Ensure that you keep them active and away from the TV or computer screen - they will soon become a couch potato if you don't encourage and model a better way of being. Be active with them. Go jogging or swimming with them, in this respect it is no different to when they were younger.
  • Never let them have a computer or TV in their room - it's just not good parenting. They will fight you on this one, but you have to make the rules and stay firm. Your house your rules - tough love - and all that stuff applies here!
  • Many teens are more computer literate than their parents and may know how to change parental controls. This leaves them exposed to things like cyber bullying, which will affect their health and well-being. Make sure they know that you are around when they are on line.


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  • Set rules and boundaries and stick to them. Gradually give them more and more responsibility in the home, where they are safe to make mistakes and learn about the consequences of their actions. Monitor the choices they make and be there to help them through the tough times, because they will make mistakes. The important thing is that they make small mistakes, and that they learn from them.
  • Teens should never experience the feeling of being left to their own devices without a caring adult knowing where they are, who they are with, how they will be getting home, and what they are going to be doing. These things make them feel safe. Feelings of insecurity can lead to reckless behavior and worry. It can make them vulnerable and more open to peer pressure. That's when they will be at risk of making big mistakes.
  • Brace yourself because the tough times will come with broken hearts, exam nerves, falling out of friendships - and other things - but hey, we've all been there, so we can support them right?
  • Teens need some free space and independence, and they should spend time with their peers.You have to learn to trust them. But this trust has to be earned and given to them gradually. They will not suddenly be old enough to stay out all night, for example, no matter what they say!
  • It is not advisable to allow teens to just 'hang' with each other without anything constructive to do. Many parents, especially in the UK, believe that teens should spend as much time as possible in each others' company and without adults or younger people. This is absolutely not true! Research shows that teens are happiest when they are in mixed groups that mirror society as a whole. Nobody wants to hang around bus stops or the street corners with nothing to do but get into trouble out of sheer boredom.

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I have worked with teens from all over the world as a teacher in multicultural London, and the most unhappy ones, without exception were those who didn't have a loving and supportive adult in their lives. It doesn't even have to be a parent or parents, although I suppose the latter is the ideal.

Remember you are the role model not the pop idol they see on TV.

Hope these few words help.

© 2015 Giovanna Sanguinetti

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    • Adventuretravels profile image
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      Giovanna Sanguinetti 23 months ago from London UK

      Thanks for your visit. I'll be adding more things to this hub soon.

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 24 months ago

      a useful hub for those who rear teens

    • Adventuretravels profile image
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      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      Your son sounds like a great kid. Good on him and good on you too - great parenting always pays off. My son is 15 also and he is beginning to worry about his appearance too - as parents we have to counter all the rubbish they hear from the media and friends. Parenting is difficult, but I can't think of anything more rewarding and important can you! Much love to you both x

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      All great advice! I have a nearly 15 year old son who so far has been a dream come true. He is very organized, self-disciplined, and mostly self-sufficient. He is also used to having responsibilities and has always been good at meeting them. Of course we are waiting for the other shoe to drop! Three things that I especially agree with is to be a parent not a friend, enough sleep, and a healthy diet. I have to make my son eat carbs. He would live on leafy greens and 2 ounces of meat at every meal if he had his own way. He thinks a couple tablespoon of quinoa or squash will make him fat. I really hope he grows out of this idea sometime over the next 3 years.

    • Adventuretravels profile image
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      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      Thanks for your visit ladyguitarpicker and for your comment.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      All good advice in your hub.